Declarative KVM with vagrant-libvirt

September 23, 2023

I often reach for KVM for work that doesn't really fit into containerized workloads. This is sually for planning out a physical server

  • TPM
  • ZFS
  • K3d Clusters
  • Custom OS's

We can use

to create the VM but we still have to install and setup SSH which we can snapshot but the whole thing takes a solid 10 minutes etc, hence the need for a more declative way to set up test VM's.

sudo virt-install \
--name ubuntu-root-zfs-server \
--boot uefi \
--os-variant=ubuntu22.04 \
--ram=8192 \
--cpu host \
--vcpus=6 \
--disk pool=default,device=disk,bus=virtio,format=qcow2,size=50 \
--cdrom /var/lib/libvirt/installers/ubuntu-22.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso \
--graphics spice \
--video virtio \
--sound none \
--network bridge=br0,model=virtio \
--input keyboard,bus=ps2

With this Vagrantfile we can run

vagrant up
vagrant ssh
we can but in a live VM in a minute or so.

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config| = "debian/bookworm64"
  config.vm.provider :libvirt do |libvirt|

Full list of libvirt options

This shell script is also usefull for exporting an SSH config and using SSH directly, it's a bit faster than the above.

set -e

if ! [ -e vagrant-ssh ]
    echo "Downloading ssh config"
    vagrant ssh-config > vagrant-ssh

# run ssh with the file.
ssh -F vagrant-ssh default 'bash -s' <


Refer to the installation notes here

sudo apt-get purge vagrant-libvirt
sudo apt-mark hold vagrant-libvirt
sudo apt-get install -y qemu libvirt-daemon-system libvirt-dev ebtables libguestfs-tools
sudo apt-get install -y vagrant ruby-fog-libvirt
vagrant plugin install vagrant-libvirt

On my first

vagrant up
I got this error.

Bringing machine 'default' up with 'libvirt' provider...
It appears your machine doesn't support NFS, or there is not an
adapter to enable NFS on this machine for Vagrant. Please verify
that `nfsd` is installed on your machine, and try again. If you're
on Windows, NFS isn't supported. If the problem persists, please
contact Vagrant support.

Which I fixed with

vagrant-libvirt-testing sudo apt-get install nfs-common nfs-kernel-server

Vagrant will also get stuck at "Mounting NFS shared folders"

We can allow NFS ports from the vagrant interface and subnet via.

sudo ufw allow in on virbr1 from to any port 2049 comment 'Vagrant NFS'
sudo ufw allow in on virbr1 from to any port 111 comment 'Vagrant NFS'

Finally vagrant up with the Vagrantfile from earlier.

vagrant up
Bringing machine 'default' up with 'libvirt' provider...
==> default: Checking if box 'debian/bookworm64' version '12.20230723.1' is up to date...
==> default: Machine already provisioned. Run `vagrant provision` or use the `--provision`
==> default: flag to force provisioning. Provisioners marked to run always will still run.

==> default: Machine 'default' has a post `vagrant up` message. This is a message
==> default: from the creator of the Vagrantfile, and not from Vagrant itself:
==> default:
==> default: Vanilla Debian box. See for help and bug reports

Virsh commands

Running the following command with list all VM's

sudo virsh list --all
 Id   Name                               State
 1    vagrant-libvirt-testing_default    running

We can can inspect the VM

sudo virsh dominfo vagrant-libvirt-testing_default
Id:             1
Name:           vagrant-libvirt-testing_default
UUID:           d45c17ce-6e9c-4dc5-9d73-7a604e9bc616
OS Type:        hvm
State:          running
CPU(s):         1
CPU time:       53.1s
Max memory:     524288 KiB
Used memory:    524288 KiB
Persistent:     yes
Autostart:      disable
Managed save:   no
Security model: apparmor
Security DOI:   0
Security label: libvirt-d45c17ce-6e9c-4dc5-9d73-7a604e9bc616 (enforcing)